Comedian and magician of almost 30 years, Eric Buss, turned to creating treehouses and play structures for kids in order to help families combat the boredom and pent up energy from the stay at home order. Buss, whose main career revolves around events and gatherings, found himself at home with no work when the pandemic struck. This Burbank dad doesn’t just have a talent for magic and comedy, he is also a skilled woodworker, which he learned from his father. Over the years, Buss has built a treehouse, zip-line and swings for his son, until the time came to turn his hobby into a career.
Buss’ son, Demetri, was in a zoom class when he mentioned to his teacher that his dad had built him a treehouse. Demetri’s teacher, Linda Gregorczyk, had heard that Eric was helping a friend whose store was damaged in the protests, and was not able to do his regular work due to the pandemic. Linda got in touch with Eric to see if he would be interested in building a tree house for her son. “He had me look for ideas of what I had in mind and then asked my son if there was anything specific he wanted,” said Gregorcyzk. “The finished product was better than I had imagined!” Soon after, Buss launched his business and started building treehouses all around Burbank and beyond.
Treehouse Creations and Other Play Things was born to help encourage outdoor playtime since families have been so deeply impacted by the distance learning and closure of parks and playgrounds. Buss’ hope is that it gets kids out of their house. “Feel the breeze, climb a tree, pluck some leaves, read a book, or even play their video games. But even if they are playing video games, at least they are outdoors in a tree,” said Buss. “A treehouse can be a pirate ship one day, a theatre for family shows the next day, and a restaurant for lunch or dinner the next day. It can be home base in a game of tag, or a fort for an epic nerf gun battle.”
Many Burbank families have hired Eric Buss during quarantine including the Eulen family who has three kids and wanted to get a tree house the week before distance learning classes started. “It was our pandemic purchase for our kids,” said Bouvier Eulen. “My husband and I were really worried about the kids not having enough outdoor/ playtime once school started, so we wanted to be able to provide them with something they can do outside that didn’t require electronics. Eric was amazing to work with, we got exactly what we wanted, and the kids absolutely love it!”
Another Burbank family, the Kaufmans, hired Eric Buss to make their treehouse after coming back from a trip to Utah over the summer and deciding they needed to get their two sons, ages 8 and 11, to spend more time outside. “It was perfect timing because right after we had the treehouse built we had family move in with us due to unfortunate circumstances,” said Monica Kaufman. “This way it gives the kids their space and some time outdoors everyday. Even if they are outside on screens, they are getting a little vitamin D. It’s exactly what the kids needed at this time in their lives.”
Buss’ creations go far beyond treehouses, and even stretches to climbing walls, playhouses, slides, and zip-lines. It’s not only kids that enjoy these getaways, as Buss recounts a project he made for a couple without kids. It brought him to Highland Park where he created a single level treehouse with a staircase using 55 bags of cement. Each step was a post in the ground creating an island to island stairway. Another fun build was a three story treehouse in Burbank. “The tree had branches going in every direction. It was a twisted maze to work in. I was constantly bumping my head. But I managed to put 3 different levels and a hatch entrance on the main level,” said Buss. “That one was also one of the few that I mounted 100% in the tree. I didn’t use stilts for that one.”
If you are interested in a treehouse or play structure from Treehouse Creations you can contact Eric Buss through his website at http://ericbuss.com/treehouses. Buss will then schedule a time to come look at your space and create a schedule and budget. In the course of around 5-7 working days your custom treehouse will take shape and when finally finished, Buss returns a few weeks later to seal the wood in order to protect it from the elements.
Luckily there is no rush if you are interested in one of his projects as he plans to continue his woodworking even when the pandemic is over. “I plan on doing both magic and tree houses. It’ll be tough to schedule building times with performing or traveling times, but I’ll give it a whirl,” says Buss. “I miss performing and traveling a lot, but Im pretty damn happy hanging out in a tree too.”